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Multicultural Northern BC

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Northern BC Archives & Special Collections

Monday to Friday: 8:30 AM-4:30 PM
Closed Weekends & Statutory Holidays

Available for Special Collections as staffing permits. Email before arrival to confirm availability.

Recommended for Special Collections. Required for archival research. Email to schedule.

LOCATION: UNBC Prince George
Geoffrey R. Weller Library
4th Floor (Room 5-423)


Ray Williston and Prince Takamatsu

The following collections contain some content on Japanese people and history in Northern BC. To browse more of our collections of Japanese content, we suggest the following search strategy: japan OR japanese OR nippon OR tokyo. 

When formulating your search, consider the historical use of terms used to identify people of the cultural group you are researching. Some of those terms may be considered derogatory or applied inaccurately today, yet still exist in original archival primary sources. Adding historical terms to your search may unearth additional sources. Northern BC Archives acknowledges the inherent issues with perpetuating these historical terms; please see our Statement on Language in Archival DescriptionsChange or add in other qualifying words with Boolean Operators OR, AND, or NOT.

Image: 2000.13.1.44 - Ray Williston and Prince Takamatsu

Japanese-Internment Oral History Project - 2010.7

Japanese-Internment Oral History Project collection (2010.7) contains two tapes of interviews by Kent Sedgwick and Megan Heitrich, and one tape by Megan Heitrich alone. Interviews focus primarily upon the Japanese Internment during WWII in the Prince George – Valemount corridor. The interviews are with women who lived near an internment camp during the war, and had some contact with the Japanese men.

The interviewees were selected for having mentioned the Japanese internment in prior interviews: Louisa Mueller and Ruth Cunningham in interviews by the Prince George Oral History Group, and Karlleen Robinson in “A History of Logs and Lumber.” In the Cunningham Interview, Ruth’s daughter Lillian Coulling is also present.

Transcripts available for audio recordings of interviews.

Restrictions on access: None

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Upper Fraser Historical Geography Project

2017.6 - Upper Fraser Historical Geography Project Collection. The Upper Fraser Historical Geography Project was conducted by UNBC faculty and a team of researchers between 1999 and 2002. The lead researchers were Aileen Espritiu, Gail Fondahl, Greg Halseth, Debra Straussfogel, and Tracy Summerville. The project resulted in the creation of 93 oral history records and their transcripts. Participants included regional forest industry executives, politicians (including former MLA Ray Williston, local mayors and Fraser Fort George Regional District representatives), forest industry workers, and former and contemporary Upper Fraser community residents. The oral histories document the rise, consolidation and demise of the forestry-based settlements along the Upper Fraser River between 1915 and 2000.

Some participants talk about the ethnic demographics of the Upper Fraser and some mention either Japanese people in the region or specific individuals from Japan with whom they were friends or acquaintances. Some also describe the Japanese Interment Camp.

One interview was given by Ken Sasaki (2017.6.1.60 and 2017.6.2.60), of Japanese heritage, whose father was in the interment camp at Giscome. He talks of his and his family's history and experiences here in Northern BC.

Restrictions on access: Some restrictions apply. Digitized material made available online may be redacted to exclude privacy concerns.

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Torajiro Sasaki Collection

2023.10 - Torajiro Sasaki Collection

Torajiro Sasaki was born on January 8, 1914 in Mieken, Japan. He came to Canada in 1931 and lived in Vancouver. In 1942, Torajiro Sasaki was forcibly removed to a Japanese internment camp. Torajiro was initially sent to Lempriere Camp and later to Red Pass internment camp. When World War II came to an end and the internment camps were dismantled, Torajiro Sasaki moved to Giscome, BC for work. At that time, there was a high demand for manpower at the many sawmills along the Upper Fraser River. As a single man, Sasaki was lodged in the bunkhouses and worked at Eagle Lake Sawmills. 

This 16mm film of Eagle Lake Sawmills was produced by Torajiro Sasaki in July 1952, likely commissioned or with permission from the sawmill owners. The film depicts logging and sawmilling operations at the Eagle Lake Sawmill, as well as shots of the bunkhouses, exterior shots of the mill, and the beehive burner. Employees of the mill are shown at work, including employees of both Asian and European heritage.

Adam Zimmerman fonds

The Adam Zimmerman fonds (2003.8) consits of the administrative and business papers of Mr. Adam Zimmerman during his tenure as a senior level executive with Noranda Inc., Noranda Mines Ltd, and Macmillan Bloedel Ltd., particularly in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia with the majority of these records relating to the senior level operations of these companies.

These records include documents depicting the business relationship between Adam Zimmerman's companies and Japanese paper companies. They include documents from joint meettings between the Canadian Pulp & Paper Association and the Japan Paper Association as well as business relationships with Japanese organizations including the Yuen Foong Yu Group and documents from several Canada-Japan Businessmen's Conferences.

Restrictions on access: Some restrictions apply. Files may need to be reviewed by an archivist before public viewing.

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